The Idaho Transportation Board, meeting this morning in Boise, has voted 4-1 to put the Dover Bridge and the I-84 Vista Interchange back on its list of "shovel-ready" projects ready to receive federal economic stimulus funds. Two weeks ago, the board had crossed those two projects off the priority list, saying they wanted to spread the money around the state. "Things are changing on a daily basis regarding potential stimulus package," ITD Director Pam Lowe told the board. "It appears that we may get more money than we anticipated in the special board meeting." The new list now has eight projects on it instead of six, and totals $182 million instead of less than $100 million. When board member Jim Coleman questioned what it'll take to get all the projects ready to go, ITD Chief Engineer Tom Cole responded, "Dover Bridge is ready to come down here right now. ... We have all the resources in-house to do everything we need to get those projects on the list ready. They should be on track."
ITD board member Lee Gagner voted against the resolution. "We know that many of the projects wouldn't be done without this large amount of money," he said. "I still have a concern going into so many expansion projects, when we have a need for preservation and restoration around the state." Future federal funding for roads could fall, Gagner said, and "our roads could suffer more."
The board's resolution also calls for 12.6 percent of any stimulus funds to go to local road jurisdictions, and calls for any additional money beyond the identified projects and the cut for locals to go to preservation and restoration projects - with the priority going to districts that receive the least money for specific projects. You can read my full story here at spokesman.com.